By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON – Canton native Kyle Flanagan says he’s honored to be on the list of nominees for the Hobey Baker Memorial award, which goes to the best college hockey player of the year.
Flanagan, a senior forward and team captain for the St. Lawrence University Saints, said he is “pretty excited. It’s an honor to be nominated. Still, there are 65 or 70 guys,” he said, who are on the list.
Fans can vote for him or any of the other nominees as the best college hockey player of the year.
Voting is under way at http://www.hobeybakeraward.com/page/show/715460-vote-for-hobey-2013-phase-i. This first phase closes March 10. Phase two of fan balloting begins March 22 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans’ vote accounts for 1 percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year’s award recipient.
As the hockey season enters its second half, Flanagan says he has been “talking to a few teams” from the National Hockey League, but that it’s still too early to say much about that.
Saints Head Coach Gregory Carvel says Flanagan “is an elite player. He came right out of the gate on fire, and got on the radar screens right away. He was Player of the Month for October.”
Kyle was the second leading scorer for the Saints as a sophomore with 12 goals and 23 assists, and has never looked back.
Also as a sophomore in the 2010-2011 season, Flanagan was named co-Most Valuable Player for the Saints, and was named team captain for the following season, becoming just the second Canton native to captain the Saints.
He led his high school team, the Canton Golden Bears, to a Section X Championship and a New York State final-four appearance. He was a first team All Northern selection as a sophomore and junior and co-MVP as a junior. He also played lacrosse, football and soccer and was a three-time All Northern in lacrosse. He also earned All America honors as a sophomore and senior in lacrosse and was MVP as a junior and senior.
Coach Carvel said Flanagan had a good start on the ice this year, “and if he starts putting points on the board the way he did earlier this season, then he’ll have a real chance to be one of the 10 finalists” for the Baker.
“He’s still the most dangerous player on the ice, either side, wherever we play.”
The Saints play Yale at home tonight.
“We lost there, 4-2. They outshot BC (Boston College) 48-22, so we know they’re a good team on home ice, so we want to see what we can do” at Appleton Arena, Carvel said.
Hockey seems to be in the Flanagan family blood. The graduate of Williams High School in Canton’s father, a couple of uncles, and his brother Sean, among others in the family tree, were players. According to SLU records, his brother Sean was assistant captain in 2010-11 and uncle Paul, now head women's coach at Syracuse, was assistant captain in 1979-80.
In fact Kyle says one of the main reasons he chose St. Lawrence over other bigger-name schools was for “the opportunity to play with my brother Sean” in the Division I arena.
“Playing with family at that level – not many kids get to do that. It’s pretty special. And I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.”
Flanagan is studying communications at SLU, “which I enjoy very much.”